HONOLULU, Hawai‘i – State Senator Mike Gabbard (Dist. 20 - Kapolei, Makakilo, and portions of ‘Ewa, Kalaeloa, and Waipahu) had the opportunity to showcase the Legislature’s progressive efforts in conservation and environmental protection at the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Conservation Congress (WCC).

Held every four years, the WCC is considered the Superbowl of conservation events. This was the first time in its 60-year history the WCC was hosted in the United States and a record 10,000 delegates from 192 countries participated in the 10-day conference.

Sen. Gabbard was a panelist on the Aha Moku Advisory Committee on Sept. 4. The Legislature passed HB2806 in 2012, which became Act 288, setting up the advisory committee to provide the DLNR a systematic way to incorporate native Hawaiian knowledge of land and water management into its more western-based decision process. The Aha Moku is unique in that there is no other similar entity in the United States.

As chair of the Senate Committee on Land and Water, Sen. Gabbard shared how respect for cultural practices and natural resources are meshed with the goals of the Aloha+ Challenge, which set six ambitious sustainability goals by 2030. The value of kakou (people working together) of the Aha Moku are also being considered and is consistent with the state’s renewable energy goal of 100% renewable energy. Incorporating traditional cultural knowledge of native species is being included in addressing the invasive species problem statewide.

“Aha Moku presents our state with an awesome opportunity to incorporate Native Hawaiian cultural knowledge into the very fabric of our state policy making process,” Sen. Gabbard told the crowd. “On a more global scale, the incorporation of indigenous culture knowledge into decision making will make our world a more sustainable and peaceful place to live for future generations.”

Sen. Gabbard was also an invited speaker at the IUCN luncheon celebrating the signing of Act 125 into law, which is the most comprehensive anti-wildlife trafficking bill in the nation. Sen. Gabbard introduced the bill during the last legislative session, which recognized studies that showed Hawai‘i had the nation’s third largest market for ivory, after New York and California.



HONOLULU, Hawai‘i – State Senator Donovan M. Dela Cruz joined the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund, the nation’s preeminent Latino leadership organization, and more than 50 other policymakers from across the country for a two-day institute in Boston, Massachusetts. The event provided local and state officials with professional development on how to proactively prepare their communities to confront and recover from natural or man-made emergencies during a time of increasing global and domestic threats.

During the NALEO Educational Fund’s National Policy Institute on Emergency Planning and Preparedness that took place from August 19-20, 2016, Dela Cruz had the opportunity to enhance their knowledge and understanding of the different levels of planning and preparedness needed to help their communities prepare for, protect against, mitigate, respond to, and recover from various types of disasters and emergencies.

“Management plans for donations and volunteers are critical in any disaster,” stated Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz, (Dist. 22 – Whitmore Village, Wahiawa, Launani Valley, Waipio Acres, and Mililani Mauka). “We need to look at partnering with nonprofits, at the statewide level and at the community level, to assist developing and managing these plans.”

In addition to strengthening their governance skills and receiving timely information on emergency planning and preparedness, Dela Cruz also had the opportunity to network with colleagues and leading experts from throughout the country.

Dela Cruz and the cohort of policymakers that participated in this convening will be invited to participate in a second Policy Institute in 2017 that will focus on emergency management and response.

This event was made possible through the generous support of Title Sponsor, State Farm®. A full schedule and list of speakers is available on the NALEO Educational Fund website at http://www.naleo.org/2016_emergency.



HONOLULU, Hawai‘i - Before a large and appreciative crowd in the Moanalua High School Gymnasium, the man behind the renown Kalakaua Basketball Clinic today was honored for five decades of serving the community and helping thousands of students find success both on and off the court.

State Senator Donna Mercado Kim (Dist. 14 - Kapalama, ‘Alewa, Kalihi Valley, Ft. Shafter, Moanalua Gardens & Valley, portions of Halawa and ‘Aiea) was on hand to present a proclamation to Coach Dennis Agena and his staff in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Kalakaua Basketball Clinic during a surprise ceremony at the end of practice.

“Coach Agena is an absolutely remarkable, generous individual who deserves all the accolades being bestowed on him today,” said Sen. Kim. “How he’s given so much of his time and his own resources for the last fifty years is an inspiration to us all. He exemplifies selflessness and strong leadership through his coaching and guidance by teaching students how to be a good athlete and even greater citizen.”

Sen. Kim’s son, Micah, was a participant in the clinic as a youngster and she witnessed how the program helps build character. “I was proud to see Micah blossom not only in his basketball skills but also as a responsible young man who learned the rewards of hard work and team work,” she said.

Coach Agena is recognized as one of the most respected basketball coaches in the state and founder of the renown Kalakaua Basketball Clinic. Thousands of students have gone through the clinic that stresses the importance of mastering fundamental basketball skills, as well as team building skills. Equally important are the values students learn through the program that they carry with them through life: respect, commitment, dedication, and humility.

While the clinic has moved locations over the years, the program has consistently been led by Dennis Agena, who along with his wife Lani, have made it their life mission to keep kids off the streets and out of trouble. He and his staff conduct the clinic on a completely voluntary basis. The fee for the clinic goes towards maintaining the equipment and covering the expenses for the athletes to travel for tournaments.

Some of the players who have gone through the clinic to become successful athletes at the high school,college and professional level include Derrick Low, Kyle Pape, Blaine Gaison, Cliff

LaBoy,Bobby Nash, Dean Shimamoto and Kahi Villa. Also, Nani Cockett, Brandy Richardson, Teddi Pila, BJ Itoman, Iwalani Rodrigues, Tiana Fuertes, and Melanie Azama.

“I’m proud of all the kids. You develop them, you mentor them, you see them grow up, get married, they have kids and I think soon it will be my third generation of coaching these kids and I’m happy for doing that,” said Dennis Agena. As for today’s honors, Agena was humbled. “It’s not about me, it’s about the product you produce out of the program that makes Coach Agena and Coach Myles (Akamine) look good.”


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